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The Best in Family Adventures & Family Adventure Vacations
Ranch & Raft, Utah

Family Adventures & Family Adventure Vacations - Ranch & Raft, UT

Six Days, Class III

Departure Dates
Tuesdays, April - October
Family Dates: June 12; July 31; August 14

$2297 adult / $2197 youth
based on double occupancy

Additional Costs: Prices include an optional $125/person transportation package for a flight from the take-out back to Moab.


•  Far from the shores of the Colorado, water and shade are exceptionally scarce here. As a result. The majority of the areas wild animals and plant life are generally found along the river's edge, and gigantic sandstone and limestone formations act as a refuge to the reptiles and small mammals of the region.

•  Depending on the time of year you choose to explore with us, you may see many kinds of wildflowers. You may very well also see wildlife as mule deer, cottontail, kit fox, jackrabbit, kangaroo rat, and numerous kinds of reptiles. Bird life is represented by a variety of species including the bluebird, pinyon jay, golden eagle, and the mighty hawk.

•  The ancient Anasazi and Fremont peoples prospered along the Colorado hundreds of years ago, growing maize, beans and squash. There are few visible remains of their activities in the region other than the numerous pictographs and petroglyphs that still remain on the steep canyon walls. O.A.R.S. can also arrange to take you to view some the few remaining granaries and dwellings.

•  Pinyon pine and juniper trees offer minimal shade but a striking contrast to the red rock formations.

Family Adventure VacationsGEOLOGY
•  The Canyonlands are a genuine geologic work of art in progress. The region offers a real-world classroom where we are able to experience millions of years of the earth's history. The amazing coloration in the Canyonlands region— dramatic reds, whites, grays—begs the questions of how and where these rocks were formed. Bent or sometimes rippling like the waves of the ocean, the many layers and striations visible along the river corridor are a visual testament to the powerful forces at work both beneath and above the surface of the earth.

•  Island in the Sky is a wide mesa wedged deep between the Green and Colorado rivers. This is where you'll see the White Rim; a bench of white sandstone an impressive 1200 feet below the mesa's rim.

•  Arches National Park is home to further striking rock formations created by the forces of erosion upon a salt bed deposited more than 300 million years ago. The following ages saw it covered with residue that was deposited and compressed into rock. The result of this geologic process is visible today through the stunning rock features that make up these parks.

•  Increasingly popular with our repeat adventurers, our multi-sport adventures are a relaxed way to explore the region through a combination of rafting and hiking with other activities that take advantage of all the very best this region has to offer. Activities on the Canyonlands Multi-Sport Vacation at Sorrel River Ranch may include: horseback riding, hiking, rafting, mountain biking, and backcountry 4 x 4 safaris into either Canyonlands and Arches national parks.

•  Homesteaded in the early Twentieth century by a ranching family Red Cliffs Lodge has been a working ranch ever since, raising horses and cattle. Opened as a resort in 2002 the Lodge now offers a ranch-like experience amid western charm.

•  In addition to access to Arches and Canyonlands national parks, and other outstanding adventure destinations, Red Cliffs Lodge offers several activities on its own property. Enjoy the lodge’s pool and spa, exercise facility, volleyball and tennis courts. The Lodge also organizes a terrific horseback riding tour in magnificent Castle Creek Canyon.

•  A continental breakfast will be provided each morning, as well as lunch for your daily excursions, and a delicious, relaxing dinner when you return to the Lodge each evening. Located on-site is the Castle Valley Winery that offers wine tasting and tours.

•  Numerous movies have been filmed on this property, and a visit to Red Cliff’s unique movie museum shows us the history of films such as Rio Grande and Wagon Master and actors like Rock Hudson, Henry Fonda, and James Stewart. Be sure to include time to visit the enjoyable Movie History Museum.

Sample Itinerary
At O.A.R.S we pride ourselves in running relaxed and flexible schedules. Each trip will depend on the group, other trips on the water as well as the weather. The following is a sample of what your trip may be like.

The Day Before Your Trip

We’ll meet at 7:00 pm in the conference room of the Gonzo Inn in central Moab for a pre-trip meeting. This is an opportunity to meet your fellow travelers and guides, and ask any last-minute questions. Your guides will give you a thorough trip orientation, then pass out your waterproof river bags so that you can pack your belongings that evening. They will advise you of the morning departure time.

Day 1

• After pickup at the Gonzo Inn we drive south of Moab to our Colorado River put-in at Potash. The scenic 40-minute drive follows the river into Meander Canyon where the walls rise majestically above our heads, and serve as a backdrop for innumerable petroglyphs. Upon arrival at Potash our guides give a thorough safety talk and introduction to our boats and gear. Pushing off from the shore, we leave the familiar behind and begin our unique adventure through Canyonlands National Park via the Colorado River.

•The first half of your river trip, which will be on a motorized craft, will acquaint you with a land about as far from urban living as one can get. You will be astounded by the absolute redness of the sandstone looming skyward as it gleams in its peaceful and rugged beauty against the fairest of desert blue skies, and by the bright green willows thriving beside the river. The fresh breezes and inviting cool of the Colorado conspire to relax, to calm, and to invigorate.

•The first day might give your group an opportunity to hike to Lathrop Ruin, where you can view prehistoric pictographs of what is believed to be a solstice calendar, and painted outlines of the ancient inhabitants’ hands that ‘grab’ your attention. You might also have the opportunity to explore Indian Creek Canyon, where fascinating prehistoric ruins and a stunning seasonal waterfall await.

•Camp will be set up on a scenic beach for the first of 3 nights spent on the Colorado. The guides will explain the working of our portable toilet and how to set up your tents in the “perfect” spot. Passengers are usually pleasantly surprised about how easy this camping is with the guides taking charge of most camp chores and the great meals they prepare from fresh ingredients taken on the trip.

Day 2

• After the mighty Colorado winds us through The Loop, an exceptional example of the river’s convoluted twists and turns and a venue for another great hike, we reach the confluence with the Green River that marks the beginning of Cataract Canyon. At this point or slightly up river from here, we will transfer to our non-motorized river craft (oar raft, paddle-assist, etc.).

• About three miles downstream from The Confluence, we may camp at Spanish Bottom, where we find a fading 1893 inscription from the steamer Major Powell, where it turned around twice, not daring to take on the rapids immediately below. From this camp, we encourage the active hikers in the group to join the guides on a trek up to the Doll House in the Maze section of Canyonlands, where we encounter giant stone shapes that look like massive chess pieces 50 – 100 feet high.

Day 3

• During spring runoff Cataract Canyon boasts some of the greatest whitewater in North America, with rapids like Mile Long, Capsize and the legendary Big Drops that offer plenty of excitement. During July, the rapids calm down to Class III so we can accommodate children as young as 8. As we drop into Brown Betty Rapid the preceding days’ anticipation of Cataract Canyon explodes in cool water and huge smiles. Whatever the water level or the type of boat you are in, the rushes of adrenaline with each new rapid are balanced by the knowledge of your guides’ experience and focus on safety. In between the thrills, ask your guide to tell the tale of John Wesley Powell’s historic 1869 first descent through these formidable rapids. We may camp at the end of the rapids, after an exhilarating day of whitewater.

Day 4

• We reach the end of Cataract Canyon and Lake Powell. As we travel toward Hite Marina, it’s easy to wonder about the Glen Canyon landscape inundated below us. The scenic return flight to Moab grants a bit of time to reflect as we retrace our path through Cataract Canyon from high above, looking down on the beautiful landscape with a bird’s-eye perspective and looking forward to a delectable dinner the excitement that awaits us at Red Cliffs Lodge in scenic Professor Valley.

Day 5

• Following breakfast at the Lodge we are off to visit 2 unique areas of Utah on this popular 4-x- 4- hiking venture through Canyonlands and Arches national parks. We travel on the Shafer Trail, with stops at Fossil Point and Musselman Arch, the Island in the Sky District, Eye of the Whale, Delicate Arch overlook, and other spectacular rock formations that are not visible from the paved road. Upon return to Red Cliffs Lodge we enjoy a delicious dinner in the terraced dining room or from the outdoor deck.

Day 6

•After another light breakfast at Red Cliff we explore the area in true western style with a guided horseback ride to Castle Rock Canyon, the same country through which John Wayne rode more than 30 years ago. You may help the wranglers choose horses suitable for your comfort, and even help groom, saddle and prepare horses for your ride. We wind up the Castle Creek Canyon trail crossing its namesake stream several times. Dramatic 2000-foot cliffs tower above the trail, and there’s a chance we’ll see deer, coyote, rabbit, and smaller animals along the way.

What's Included with the Ranch & Raft?
•  All meals from dinner Day 1 through to lunch on Day 6, alcoholic beverages excluded
•  Activities Day 1 through Day 6
• All transportation from the morning of Day 1 to afternoon on Day 6, including flight from Hite Marina to Moab on Day 4

What’s Included on the River?
• All meals from lunch on Day 1 through lunch on Day 4
• Two 2-cubic-foot dry bags for your personal gear
• Two-person shared tent and deluxe sleep kit including a self-inflating 1½” foam pad, sleeping bag, sheet, and pillow
• All boating and safety equipment including a personal flotation device

What's Not Included?
• Items of personal nature (a complete packing list is provided in the Trip Planner)
• Alcoholic beverages
• Optional gratuities for your guides

Why Visit Utah?
Utah is home to some of the most diverse landscapes and rich history found anywhere else in the United States. There are a dozen national parks and almost as many state parks. Here are a few highlights we at O.A.R.S think you shouldn't miss.

•  More than 150 years ago, Brigham Young and his followers set off west to search for religious freedom. They soon found themselves at the Great Salt Lake, and with hard work and determination turned this desert into a productive heartland for the Church of Latter Day Saints. Today Salt Lake City stands along the eastern shores of the largest inland body of salt water lake in the country and is commonly referred to as the “crossroads of the West.” Downtown Salt Lake City is home to Temple Square, this is where you'll find the Mormon Temple, Tabernacle and Visitor Center, which provides an insider's look at the regions Mormon heritage. The State Capitol is also located here and is well worth the visit. Salt Lake City also offers museums of Fine Art and Natural History, rounding out your experience wit the cultural and historic perspectives of this city.

•  Bryce Canyon National Park and Zion National Park are located off Interstate 15, just 4 hours south of Salt Lake City. These national parks highlight the captivating and outstanding geologic formations that southern Utah is famous for. Bryce Canyon is well known for its displays of rich color, boasting reds, browns and yellows not typically seen in stone. Zion is a must - see with unbelievable rock configurations and hanging gardens that are begging to be explored.

•  Moab is the base for O.A.R.S.' operations in Utah, providing you with an opportunity to visit our center for outdoor enthusiasts. Moab is also an ideal jumping-off point for excursions into both Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. It also provides some of the best 4x4-touring, mountain biking and hiking in the world, not to mention whitewater rafting.

•  Be sure to visit Dead Horse Point , a short nine miles from Moab, and experience first - hand what is certainly one of the most spectacular panoramic views in the country. at the best time to see this state park is surely at sunset when you can see the changing colors of countless spires, buttes and cliffs fade into the night.

•  Moab is flanked on either side by Canyonlands National Park and Arches National Park. Arches name comes from the highest concentration of natural arches in the world and boasts more than 2,000 arches, interspersed with spires and fins of sculpted sandstone. Incredible views of the snow-capped La Sal Mountains form the backdrop to what is already an already impressive foreground. Canyonlands is divided into 3 regions: Island in the Sky, the Needles, and the Maze.

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